H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler said Friday that his wishes were to stay with Lowe's Motor Speedway on a part-time consulting basis through the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 next year.
When that could not be worked out, Wheeler said, "I was told that May 28 would be my retirement date," ending his 33-year employment at the track.
Wheeler announced on Wednesday that he is retiring as the track's president and general manager and as president and chief operating officer of its parent company, Speedway Motorsports Inc.
Wheeler said then that his departure did not come entirely on his own terms, sparking questions about his relationship with SMI chairman and LMS owner Bruton Smith.
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"I want to clear the issues between Bruton Smith and I once and for all," Wheeler said by e-mail Friday.
"First, after careful consideration and prayer, my wife, Pat, and I decided it was time to move on toward our next stage of life. When one is 69 and has worked all his life, you begin to question the long, long hours.
"At the same time you look back and relish the memories of good times and things done."
Smith dodged most questions about Wheeler on Thursday, when he appeared at the speedway to announce SMI's agreement to buy Kentucky Speedway.
Smith did say that he had "been good to Humpy" and said SMI - which has a market capitalization of $1.17 billion - agreed to pay Wheeler $12,500 a month for 10 years. That agreement for deferred compensation was actually made back in 1990, according to the 2007 SMI annual report.
Also, Smith said, Wheeler has 151,000 shares in stock options. According to SMI's annual report, Wheeler's 2007 compensation totaled $1,185,258.
Wheeler said Friday that compensation was among the issues that led to his decision to retire.
"With so many people having hard times financially today I don't want to get into the money issue here, but compensation and other differences did have a role in all this," he said. "When this couldn't be resolved I told Bruton I wanted to retire from the company.
"Am I disappointed in the way it turned out? Well, I have had a great 33 years and done well financially. I have my health, a great family and wonderful friends and thousands of memories.
"And with gas at $4 a gallon I even have three bicycles to ride."